Field trial of 2 calcium supplements on early lactation health and production in multiparous Holstein cows

Antonia R Domino, Helen C Korzec, Jessica A A McArt
Journal of Dairy Science 2017, 100 (12): 9681-9690
Our objectives were to measure serum Ca concentrations in the first 48 h postpartum in cows supplemented with oral Ca or subcutaneous Ca and nonsupplemented cows and evaluate the effect of these treatments on the incidence of metritis, displaced abomasum, mastitis, and early lactation disease (any of the diseases milk fever, retained placenta, metritis, or displaced abomasum), removal from the herd, pregnancy to first insemination, and average daily milk yield for the first 10 wk of lactation. We conducted 2 experiments on 1 commercial herd in New York State. In experiment 1, multiparous Holstein cows (n = 30) were blocked by parity (2 and ≥3) and sequentially assigned at calving to nontreated control (CON, n = 10), subcutaneous administration of 500 mL 23% Ca gluconate at calving (SC, n = 10), or administration of an oral Ca bolus containing 43 g of calcium at calving and again 12 h later (OB, n = 10). Blood was collected before treatment and at 1, 2, 4, 8, 12, 24, and 48 h thereafter for measurement of serum total Ca concentration. In experiment 2, 1,478 multiparous Holstein cows were sequentially assigned by calving date to the same 3 treatments (CON, n = 523; SC, n = 480; OB, n = 475). In experiment 1, SC cows had greater Ca concentrations from 1 through 12 h post-treatment and OB cows had greater Ca concentrations at 1 and 24 h post-treatment compared with CON cows. We found no difference in risk of metritis, displaced abomasum, early lactation disease diagnosis, or pregnancy to first insemination among treatments. Treatment with SC or OB had no effect on average daily milk yield compared with CON cows (CON = 46.7 kg; SC = 47.1 kg; OB = 47.0 kg). Cows treated with SC or OB that had a high relative herd milk rank in the previous lactation were almost half as likely to be diagnosed with mastitis in the first 60 DIM compared with CON cows [risk ratio (RR)SC = 0.57, RROB = 0.54]; however, we found no difference in risk of mastitis among treatments for cows with low relative herd milk rank. Second-parity cows fed a negative prepartum dietary cation-anion difference ration and treated with SC or OB were more likely to be removed from the herd than CON cows (RRSC = 3.91, RROB = 4.72); this difference was not observed in second-parity cows fed a neutral prepartum dietary cation-anion difference ration or in parity ≥3 cows. Although Ca supplementation increased serum Ca, this effect did not greatly improve milk production or health and reproductive outcomes.

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